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How To Estimate The Efficiency Of PR-strategy

In this article, we decided to consider the pros and cons of the most commonly used indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of PR. Other materials about digital marketing you can read on our website Digital Agency Portland

1. Number of Publications

The number of publications is the total number of materials published in the media with a mention of the company. Due to the ease of counting, it is one of the most common, but at the same time the least informative indicators. It shows the volume of publications, but does not give an idea of ​​the quality of the media, the reach of the audience, as the message itself. Here it is worth remembering the rule: “More does not always mean better.” If there is any negative event associated with your company, you will receive the message indicated in the message. In addition, publications with audiences of 200,000 and 20,000 thousand people will obviously have different weights.

This does not mean that you should completely abandon this metric, but you should clearly understand that it will be useful in assessing the effectiveness of communication only if uses in conjunction with other indicators.

This indicator uses as one of the elements in more complex integral metrics.


  • Simplicity and clarity of calculation


  • Low information content

2. Working With The Media

Media Outreach is audience reach. Shows the number of audience contacts with a PR tool. Depending on the type of media, it calculates based on either circulation data or the average number of site visitors over a certain period, usually a week. This indicator is still one of the most popular and relevant in the opinion of PR specialists.

Indeed, the metric already provides a little more information. But find your nuances here. Firstly, how you can count these contacts? For example, in the case of print media, you can guess how many people have seen the issue. Usually, for this, they are guided by the circulation of the publication, and also take into account the average audience of the issue. Since several people can either read one issue, or vice versa – it happens that the number of readers is less than the amount of circulation. He showed the number of those who read your material in the issue – it will no longer work.

Another problem is the intersection of the audience of different media or even several publications of the same media. That is, if your company has learned in different materials and different media, you will be able to determine the percentage of a unique audience by reading your company’s material. Since the same person could have read the material several times, for example, in different publications. As a result, the final coverage figure can be very different from the actual state of affairs.

It may seem that the situation with online publications should be better, but even here it is not so simple. To accurately determine the audience reach for some material online. However, this data is not always available. It also distorts the picture – it is impossible to say for sure which of the publications these visitors read and whether yours was among them. Thus, this indicator gives a rough idea of ​​the audience reach.


  • Gives an idea of ​​the breadth of audience reach
  • Visibility and clarity of results


  • Inflated reach values ​​due to overlapping audiences
  • Lack of accurate data for analysis, large errors

3. Citation Index (CI) or Media Influence.

In PR, it is often the case to disseminate material as much as possible, and for this you need to know which publications you should appear in so that other media will also notice the distribution.

The citation index or in some monitoring systems “Mass media influence” shows the potential for the distribution of other cited publications. You should calculate the parameter based on the citation and social influence of the media, where cited is the quantity and quality of citations in other sources, and social influence is likes, reposts and links to the publication. In this case, self-citation is not taken into account.

You can also use the resulting citation data to compile a pool of priority publications (Level 1, Level 2, Level 3). Information about the influence of various media will help to form their rating in order to understand, getting into which of them is an indicator of high efficiency. We use media influence as an element in complex performance indicators, for example, in the Media Index of Medialogy.


  • Demonstrates the potential for distributing PR material
  • Calculated based on several parameters
  • May be for a priority edition pool message


  • The complexity and multistage character of the indicator

4. Tonality

Besides the number of mentions, it is also important to understand their quality. Tonality is perhaps the primary qualitative characteristic that you should analyze. It reflects the “mood”, the tone of the message. The tone can be positive, negative, or neutral. Sentiment monitoring is very important as brand reputation and consumer loyalty depend on it.

Some tools analyze only the sentiment of the text, not taking into account the details of references to specific objects. For example, in the event of a conflict of interest, both parties will receive a general negative background.

In other tools, in particular in the Medialogia system, the assessment is based on the tone of coverage of a particular company or person in media reports. Using neural networks, the system recognizes in each message the facts mentioned about the object and the author’s tonality, which takes into account expressive expressions and emotional statements in relation to the company. It is also worth noting that the assessment primarily takes into account the key news story of the article. And the tonality of the headline is critical when there are multidirectional facts. In general, mixed facts result in a neutral assessment.

In some cases, we can determine the tone of the publication incorrectly due to mixed positive and negative facts. Consider an example: the media reports that the company suffered losses during the pandemic. But managed to adapt to the new realities and came out of the crisis with fewer losses than competitors. What tone we should  assign to this publication? On the one hand, the mention of losses should bring a negative tone. But the context of the news feed itself and the author’s tone make us understand that this publication is not negative.

We can especially use knowledge of the tone of publications in calculating of reputational risks, anti-crisis communications.


  • Gives an idea of ​​the attitude of the auditor to the referenced object
  • We can use it to manage reputation


  • Risk of incorrect sentiment determination

5. The role of mentions

The role of mentions characterizes the importance of the object in the publication. Sometimes a company can appear in the material in the role of the main object. For example when the message is dedicated to it, or it can have an episodic role – if it takes a secondary place in the material. Sometimes the secondary role is singled out separately from the main and episodic.

It is clear that mentions with the main and episodic roles are not equivalent and the reader will not remember them equally well. If you do not take this into account, then the meaning of counting the number of publications is lost. After all, you put messages in one row where your company attracts maximum attention and those where messages mention the company only in passing. That is the real picture of efficiency is blurred. Nevertheless, the importance of this indicator often depends on the communication tasks of the business. If, for example, your company or product is already well known and it is important for you to just stay heard or get into the top-of-mind of consumers, then the number of publications, regardless of which mention the company in the main role and which do it in an episodic one.

On the other hand, if you are introducing a complex technological product to the market, then you may need not only to be remembered and gain a foothold in the minds of the audience. But also to convey the features and competitive advantages of this product. In this case, the main role in messages will be preferable.

The role of mentions is also taken into account in some multifactorial indicators, so you can analyze it both separately and in the framework of other complex metrics.


  • Shows the importance of the object in publications

6. Key Message (KM)

The indicator reflects the presence of the company’s key message in PR materials – that is, how much media publications convey the idea that the company wants to convey to its audience. The metric includes both an assessment of the content of the key message and the proportion of key messages in publications. We can analyze the key message in the title and text of the publication, as well as in the quotes of the speakers. And monitor the indicator over time.

Using this parameter, the company can determine how correctly and fully its key message is presented in the media field. This directly affects the effectiveness of a PR campaign, so it is really important to analyze the key message in publications.

The disadvantage of this indicator is that this indicator requires an expert assessment, which means that its qualitative determination in a large array of messages will be labor intensive.

The calculation of some multifactorial indicators includes this metric, for example, in the Perfectness Rate.


  • You can analyze both the quality of key messages and their quantity 
  • Separates articles including key message companies from information noise


  • Requires expert judgment
  • The publication is not always explicitly contain the key message

What we can say about measuring the effectiveness of PR in general? We would highlight a few points:

Use both quantitative and qualitative metrics. We can measure in numbers not everything. Better yet, use cumulative metrics that combine both types of parameters.

In assessing the effectiveness of PR, move along a kind of funnel – from superficial analytics to deeper ones – as far as possible. We can talk for a long time about which metrics are clearer and more objective. But it is better to assess the effectiveness at least somehow, than not to represent it at all. Let you know at least the number of publications or audience coverage, rather than not knowing anything at all about how your PR department works.

However, if the possibilities allow you, then, of course, it is better to always opt for deep and complex analytics. Moreover, today it is not at all necessary to collect all the materials manually. Various monitoring and analytics systems will automatically collect all the data and provide you with a ready-made report. This will save you money, time and hassle.

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